Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shelly Hickox: Faux Copper Verdigris

I am generally not one of those people who has all the latest and greatest tools - I tend to prefer making do with supplies that I have on hand. When the Cuttlebug die cutting/embossing machine first came out, I was sure I didn't need it. After seeing my first embossed piece of paper, though, I was hooked! When I heard the first 'click' of a die breaking through paper, I knew I was hopelessly in love.

One of my favorite things to do is create faux techniques. Paper is such a versatile medium - emboss it, add a bit of paint or ink, and you can get some wonderful effects. Recently, I had an idea that I might be able to create the effect of copper that has weathered and aged and thought the Cuttlebug Fleur De Lis pattern would be perfect for this look. Below is the technique that I came up with. I hope you enjoy it!

Cuttlebug or other embossing machine
Cuttlebug or other embossing folder
Plain white cardstock
Foam paint brush or makeup sponge
Copper acrylic paint
White gesso
Inkssentials Mini Mister
Adirondack Dabbers - Pool and Lettuce colors
Craf-T Metallic Rub-on paint

Step 1: Emboss white cardstock, using folder of choice.

Step 2: Paint embossed cardstock with copper paint. Don't worry about getting every nook and cranny. Let dry completely. If desired, a heat tool can be used to speed up drying time.

Step 3: Using Dabbers, add random spots of paint. Cover with about twice as much Pool (blue) as Lettuce (green).

Step 4: While paint is still wet, sponge on gesso, mixing the colors and moving them around. Make sure piece is completely covered and the paint is in all the little crevices. If paint starts drying up, you can lightly spritz it with water, using your Mini Mister.

Step 5: Using a tissue, dab and wipe paint from the raised portion. Depending on how it looks at this point, you may need to add more paint. Mine was a bit light, so I added a little more Pool, blending it and removing the excess from the raised area. Let dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: When you are satisfied with your base color, sponge on more gesso. Make sure you don't use such a heavy application that you cover up all your green. You want a very mottled effect. Let this dry slightly.

Step 7: Mist entire surface with water, using Mini Mister. Using a tissue or paper towel, begin dabbing the surface, removing some of the gesso and allowing patches of green and copper paint to show through.

Step 8: When dry, your piece should look something like this. If there is not enough copper showing through, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand some of the gesso and paint off. Be very careful with this step; the paper can be fragile at some points and it's very easy to sand too much and tear the paper.

Step 9: Using Craf-T copper metallic rub-on paint, highlight portions of the embossed piece you'd like to stand out. This will add more contrast, giving your paper a more realistic appearance. Since many people may not have the Craf-T paint, you can experiment with other rub on paints, or even try dry brushing it with regular craft paint.

Voila! You have created a beautiful piece of patinaed copper from nothing but a piece of white cardstock and a few supplies you probably have in your studio. How fun is that? Below is my finished piece. I would love to see how all of you interpret this idea!

Stamp Credits: I Brake For Stamps


  1. thank you fot this tutorial I love it and will try it today ☺ best wishes from janine from germany

  2. Your paper looks great! I've tried this before, but on wood, and terra cotta pots. Will have to try it on paper now! Thanks for sharing your instructions!

  3. I Absolutely Love the looks of this technique, and your finished project!
    Look forward to giving it a try, once I pick up some paints.
    Thanks for sharing a Fab tutorial, Shelly.
    VickiR in OH

  4. I love how this came out! Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this technique, I can't wait to try it!

  5. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your technique!

  6. Terrific results with your technique! Can't wait to try it out :-)

  7. this is gorgeous! what a terrific technique!!

  8. What a fantastic technique, thank you.

  9. A terrific technique. The result is truly awesome.

  10. Thanks for sharing that technique, looks totally awesome.

  11. Oh Shelly this looks amazing, I have used gesso with my paints, but I never thought of embossing the CS first, what a wonderful idea.
    I am definitely going to give this a go.
    Thank you so very much for sharing this with us.
    When I make something I will mention how you inspired me.

  12. wow I love this,
    thank you so much for shearing this with us,
    I will definatly be using it,

  13. Shelly - that looks wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Sandra ltb

  14. This looks so cool! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to try it!

  15. Totally cool! Great tutorial, will try this!

  16. Thanks everyone! I hope you guys try it!

  17. Hi Shelly, I already fell in love with your birdcage and I actually had a patina acrylic paint gel that I used on I stop by and you did a patina on paper. I really enjoy you sharing with us. Thanks so much.
    PS I was stunned after I did the birdcage with your technique. I LOVE IT.

  18. I love this - going to try it this week. I did the birdcage too and was amazed at how realistic it looked! Thanks for sharing another technique with us -- have a wonderful week.

  19. Stunning! This looks so much like the real thing, it's unbelievable! Thanks for sharing your creativity and ingenuity with us!

  20. This is just amazing! Thank you for the very clear tutorial. It is now bookmarked for me to have a go!

  21. Love that weathered copper patina and this technique looks wonderful! The tutorial is detailed enough and clear enough that I think I can follow it. And ... I have most everything on hand--or can use what I have to try it before I buy more supplies. THANKS MUCH! :)

  22. Who would of thought it? it looks lovely like a weathered copper in the end (guess that's the aim) and love the finished project

    Love Dawn xx

  23. When you started I thought what is she doing, but what a wonderful finished result, amazing!

  24. Love the look of this technique! So nice to finally put a face to the name and getting to know more about you. I really do love your art!

  25. Your ideas are always just delightful! We have a good tome visiting you here! Personally, this is my fave treatment of cardstock in literally years. Beautiful, almost scientific approach! Thanks for sharing!
    Rose & Friends

  26. I love this look! I will have to try this.

  27. Wow, this is gorgeous! What a beautiful technique!

  28. great great great idea! i will most certainly try this out! but most of all: thanks for sharing! :)

  29. Thanks again, everyone! I'm so glad you enjoying it. BTW, feel free to experiment with whatever supplies you have on hand. I only used my 'good' copper paint because I ran out of the cheap stuff! I'm sure that plain white craft paint would work in place of the gesso, too.

  30. Great technique! Thanks for sharing.

  31. What a great tut, Shelly! Lovely to see something where I actually have the supplies! I will give this a go and let you know how I get on. Thank you so much,

    Lucy x

  32. I just got to read your great tutorial Shelly!!! I love the result and will definitely have to try it!! Thanks so much...

  33. I tried your technique last night and I'm addicted!!!
    :) Jen


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